fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "MTN Play" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 13 Apr 2010 22:57:49 -0000
Subject: IMPORTANT MESSAGE (Tuesday, April 13, 2010)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Dear Lucky Winner,
Your e-mail address has won US$ 500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand United
States Dollars Only). This is from a total cash prize of US$ 5, 000,000.00
( Five Million United States Dollars ) shared amongst the lucky winners in
this grand category.
File claims for your winnings immediately by contacting our Financial
Controller using the information below:
The Financial Controller,
Name: JAMES K. Ade
Phone : +234 705 606 2378
Fax : +234 (1) 882 617
All participants were selected randomly from the World Wide Web (WWW)
through computer draw system and extracted from over 200,000 companies.
This promotion takes place periodically and no ticket is sold. This
lottery scheme is organized to encourage the use of the internet and
promote computer literacy worldwide.
All winnings must be claimed and received on/before Wednesday, April 25,
2010. You have been assigned a unique ID below:
REF #: 69/231
For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information
confidential till your claims is processed and you gain proper
identification as our original winner. Send an email with your reference
number to our controller now and expect a response with complete
instructions on how to receive your winning as appropriate.
Congratulations from our entire team.
International Relations Dept.